New York State trails country in pre-pandemic job recovery, according to analysis

New York State is on track to match pre-pandemic labor levels in about a year and a half, according to a recent analysis, placing it behind nationwide trending data.

The Empire Center for Public Policy, an Albany-based think tank, recently wrote an analysis piece on New York State’s July jobs report, which provided mixed results.

Month-over-month, New York State closed out July with an uptick in jobs that mirrored the same average figure reported across the country, based on seasonally adjusted numbers within the private sector.

But the road to recovery for a state heavily impacted from COVID-19 shutdowns and other mitigations early on in the pandemic is a longer journey than many other states in the country are facing, E.J. McMahon, founder and senior fellow with the Empire Center, said.

“Measured on a seasonally adjusted basis, there were about 7.5 million workers on private payrolls in New York (in July), an increase of 0.6% from June,” McMahon wrote in the analysis. “The national private jobs count was up 0.6%, to roughly 124.8 million.”

Viewed in a vacuum, McMahon said the single-month increase in jobs is good for the state. In the analysis, he said the statistic is “higher than recorded in any pre-pandemic month since May 2015.”

But even if the increase in jobs were to continue at its current pace within New York, McMahon said the state would trail the national average.

“If that pace continues, private payrolls in New York State won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until January 2023,” McMahon said. “By contrast, the U.S. as a whole has been adding private jobs at a pace that will produce a full private-sector employment recovery by early next year.”

On another metric – year-over-year job statistics – New York finished July ahead of the national average. Statewide, there were 7% more jobs in New York at the end of July, compared to the year prior. The national average was a 5.8% increase in the same metric.

States were at different stages of economic recovery in July 2020, based on policy decisions concerning businesses’ ability to reopen.

“For comparison purposes, a better starting point is the employment levels for the same month in 2019, ahead of the pandemic,” McMahon said. “Compared to July 2019, New York is still down 786,000 jobs (in July 2021), a net decrease of 9.4%. National employment was down just 2.8% from the 2019 level.”

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also indicate New York State is an outlier from the rest of the country when looking at jobless claims.

At the end of July, New York had an unemployment rate of 7.6% – the second highest in the country, tied with California and New Mexico. Nevada had the highest unemployment rate of 7.7%.

The overall national unemployment rate at the end of July was 5.4%.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release full August statistics in mid-September.

This article was originally posted on New York State trails country in pre-pandemic job recovery, according to analysis

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